Small Homes Need Staging, Too

Home Stager with StageRight Home Staging & Redesign

Unfortunately, many homeowners and real estate agents have the idea that home staging is only for larger, more expensive homes.  The fact is, that small houses/condos NEED staging MORE.  Buyers want to be sure that the rooms are large enough for their furniture and may walk away from a property where they have doubts about the amount of space.  In vacant properties, proper staging can eliminate that worry by showing the buyer that furniture does fit, and give them ideas of how to best use the space.  In occupied paroperties, professional stagers can help homeowners eliminate clutter, edit furniture and accessories, and rearrange furnishings to make rooms feel more spacious.  If the existing furniture is too large for the space, smaller scale furniture can be brought in which could make a tremendous difference in the perception of space and the amount of time the property sits on the market.

Encinitas MBRIn this small master bedroom, we eliminated a headboard, used smaller scale furniture and lamps and kept the bedding simple.  staging this space made it "feel" larger than it did when it was empty, added charm to create emotional appeal, and showed potential buyers that this was, in fact, a functional space.

For those who think that the cost of staging a small space is hard to jestify, consider this.  Staging a small house costs less.  i recently staged a couple of small vacant houses (less than 1500 square feet) and the cost was less than $5000 for all the staging work and 2 months rental of furniture and accessories.  If those houses hadn't been staged and didn't sell within the first couple of months, the logical suggestion would be to lower the asking price - probably more than $5000.  Regardless of the size of the property, staged homes sell faster and for more money and the cost of staging is always less than that first price reduction.  So in the case of home staging - size doesn't matter.

Comments (54)

Diane Beck
Vibrant Interiors - Pittsburgh, PA
Greater Pittsburgh's Award Winning Home Stager

An empty home is not appealing to buyer's no matter what the size.  Most people need to see how their belongings will fit into a space.  A professionally staged home draws buyers in and allows them to see that even small (or very large) spaces will suit their needs. Very nicely staged home!

Aug 08, 2013 05:39 AM
Mitch Muller - Charlotte NC Real Estate
ProStead Realty Charlotte, NC CRS SRES - Charlotte, NC
Certified Residential Specialist

Small homes especially need staging to make them look bigger. I had a small condo staged once and when I went back afterwards, the place felt almost twice as big!

Aug 08, 2013 06:09 AM
Brad MacKenzie
Brad MacKenzie - Duxbury, MA
Turning Houses into Homes on the South Shore

I completely agree. Whether it's a professional or an agent, someone has to help homeowners do some staging every time.

Aug 08, 2013 07:13 AM
Tamra Lee Ulmer
Arizona Resource Realty - Payson, AZ
NRBA ~FORCE~ Over 1000 REO Assets SOLD!

I agree...big or small, staging can make a tremendous difference! Sometimes staging can make a smaller space look actually bigger than what it really is, if it's done right!

Aug 08, 2013 07:24 AM
Ralph Gorgoglione
Maui Life Homes / Metro Life Homes - Kihei, HI
Hawaii and California Real Estate (310) 497-9407
You make many compelling points for staging small spaces. I agree that any real estate benefits from staging. Thanks for the post.
Aug 08, 2013 08:53 AM
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Suellen, so true - I had my small condo listing staged -- and yes, it is liked by everyone (even seller, they feel they cannot move now that the home is so beautiful.)

Aug 08, 2013 02:58 PM
Karen Anne Stone
New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County - Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth Real Estate

Suellen:  I would agree with you about the need for smaller homes to also be staged.  In many ways I think it might be even more critical.  The smaller the home, the greater harm making a mistake can be... in my opinion... so make the most of what you have.

Aug 08, 2013 03:44 PM
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
EXP Realty 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Real Estate Agents - Luxury - Divorce

Smaller homes may have MORE of a let the prospective buyers know what can be done creatively with available space,

Aug 08, 2013 07:48 PM
Jeff Fisher
PureWest Real Estate - Bozeman, MT

Just took your advice and post to a client. We both agreed its time to stage our little gem to show whats its really capable of! Glad I came across your post!

Aug 08, 2013 10:55 PM
Jodi King
Keller Williams Check Realty - Prescott, AZ
Your Dream is Our Goal

Very well said! I feel it is even more important to stage small homes, or just small spaces within any home, than large open rooms. It helps potential buyers see just how functional and "roomy" even a small space can be for their daily use. They can now visualize how they can use the space instead of fearing it will be too small for them to enjoy. Staging doesn't have to be expensive, using their current belongings in a thoughtful way can make a big impression. 

Aug 08, 2013 11:46 PM
Travis "the SOLD man" Parker; Broker/Owner
Travis Realty - Enterprise, AL
email: / cell: 334-494-7846

hmmmm - staging smaller homes - haven't really thought of it the way you present it. THANKS!

Aug 09, 2013 12:37 AM
Theresa Akin

Had a listing that was very small house. 850 sq. ft. 2 bed 1 bath on a large lot. The sellers had the house professionally cleaned. It was ok but needed something more. They had a niece who was studying interior decorating and needed a project. She used furniture from the sellers and other relative to stage the house. She turned that house into a nice little mansion. For her project she took before and after photos. She did this transformation on a budget of $200.00 that sellers gave her. Did it in one week.  Sellers got full price cash offer. The house was sold within 30 days after the first day of the listing. Her brother did a little curb appeal.

Aug 09, 2013 01:49 AM
Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor®
Lewisburg, WV
Lewisburg WV, the go to agent for all real estate

Thanks for the tip about staging small rooms, use small scale furniture...does makes a difference.

Aug 09, 2013 01:54 AM
Lilly Rahbar

Great post!  I just recently staged a home that was 972 square feet, two story condo.  Upstairs and downstairs were about less than 486.  Upstairs included two bedrooms and a bath that I staged with a twin bed in one room and a full bed in the other. Both showed well and enough space to include additional furniture.  Downstairs had a hall bathroom and a dining area/living area combo that was about 300 square feet.  When I first walked in, I thought, "wow, this is really small" but was able to pull it off by adding a few pieces of furniture to give the buyers an idea of how they can fit their furniture and/or examples of the size.  I used a loveseat instead of a couch and I used an ottoman instead of a big coffee table.  These are just examples of what I did for this very small condo.   The agent was pleased and amazed on how we displayed the space. 

Aug 09, 2013 02:50 AM
Valerie M. Blake
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Distinctive Marketing - Exceptional Service

Suellen, I agree completely, although your concept of small and mine may be a bit different.  I commonly stage 500 SF 1BR condos and selling properties much greater than 2000 SF is uncommon for me.  I remember a client trying to decide whether to go and see a 625 SF beach house in a remote, vacation area.  There were no online photos so I called the agent to see if he was planning to put some in the MLS.  He told me it was too small to take photos of. Can you say, "wide angle lens?"

Aug 09, 2013 07:54 AM
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

I think it might even be more important to stage a small home than a large home.  It is important to show them how they will leave in a small space.

Aug 09, 2013 08:05 AM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

I think this statement says it all: "...the cost of staging is always less than that first price reduction."

Aug 09, 2013 01:21 PM
Kimo Jarrett
Cyber Properties - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

I totally agree with everything in your post. Unfortunately, it's challenging to convince sellers to accept the cost of staging.

Aug 09, 2013 02:56 PM
Lyn Sims
Schaumburg, IL
Real Estate Broker Retired

I have to agree. It seems that the smallest homes have the most furniture & the largest the least? Really odd quirk of real estate.

Aug 11, 2013 12:13 AM
Bob Miller
Keller Williams Cornerstone Realty - Ocala, FL
The Ocala Dream Team
We agree, and for small homes, less is more when it comes to staging.
Aug 17, 2013 11:47 PM